Sustainability Impact Assessments
Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) is a trade-specific tool for supporting major trade negotiations. They provide the Commission with an in-depth analysis of the potential economic, social, human rights, and environmental impacts of ongoing trade negotiations and are a prime opportunity for stakeholders in both the EU and the partner countries to share their views with negotiators.
SIAs are a key tool for the conduct of sound, evidence-based and transparent trade negotiations. They were first developed by DG Trade in 1999 for the World Trade Organization Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations and were since then conducted for all major bilateral and plurilateral trade negotiations. At the beginning of 2016, 22 SIAs had been conducted in support of all major bilateral and multilateral EU trade negotiations and six were ongoing.
Visit dedicated websites for ongoing Sustainability Impact assessments and see how you can contribute.
How are the assessments carried out?
The European Commission published a new handbook for Sustainability Impact Assessment on 27 April 2016.
This new handbook reflects experience to date in carrying out SIAs and commitments taken in the Trade for All communication.
The second edition sets out the main characteristics, objectives and principles of the new generation of SIAs.
The handbook should be read together with the Guidelines on the analysis of human rights impact in impact assessments of trade-related policy initiatives published on 2 July 2015.
SIAs support trade negotiations conducted under the authority of the Commissioner for Trade. They are independent assessments carried out by external consultants which take place hand-in-hand with the negotiations.
SIAs feed into and steer the negotiations, assessing the changes that are likely to be caused by a trade agreement, helping to identify possible trade-offs, and ensuring that the related policy choices are optimised.
SIAs consist of two equally important and complementary components:
- a robust analysis of the potential economic, social, human rights and environmental impacts that a trade agreement could have, in the EU, in the partner country(ies) and in other relevant countries;
- a continuous and wide-ranging consultation process which ensures a high degree of transparency and the engagement of all relevant stakeholders in the conduct of the SIA inside and outside the EU.
If you have a general enquiry about SIAs, please contact us.